High-Level Politicians Admit Past Drug Use 

High-Level Politicians Admit Past Drug Use 
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2008 at 13:39:37 PT
By Ellis Henican
Source: Daily Press
USA -- All that's left is the rock and roll. Sex? Drugs? What else can David Paterson cop to now? That he played guitar in a garage band when he was growing up in Hempstead, N.Y.?Don't bet against it. New York's new governor is the perfect age. He graduated from Hempstead High in 1971.
Back in the day, he says, he smoked marijuana occasionally and, at 22 or 23, tried cocaine "a couple of times." At that point in his life, he'd have been a senior history major at Columbia — or perhaps a recent graduate. It would be a couple of years before he decided he wanted to go to law school.But now it's 2008. Paterson's the accidental governor. And it hardly even counts as news any more that a 54-year-old man would at some point in the past have violated state or federal laws against using certain drugs."Marijuana?" Dominic Carter asked in a NY1 interview."Yes," Paterson said."Cocaine?" the reporter continued."Yes."And all of it, as matter of fact as that.And why not? About all anyone can tell from the brief exchange is something utterly unremarkable: New York's new governor is a member of his own generation. Rock on, DP!It's not like he's alone in having a drug past, even at the upper reaches of political life. Especially at the upper reaches of political life. Among the pols who've acknowledged illegal drug use — marijuana, mostly — are Mike Bloomberg, George Pataki, Bill Clinton and on and on. Truthfully, these lists would be a whole lot shorter if they were limited to the pols who weren't grown-up drug criminals. Obviously, we've come a long way since Douglas Ginsberg was forced to withdraw as Ronald Reagan's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court after admitting he'd smoked marijuana several times. Now, Barack Obama, the leading Democrat for president, causes no noticeable ripples — yet! — over a memorable coke-use anecdote in his own autobiography.Give Paterson credit for forthrightness, even if this latest nugget was pulled by an inquisitive reporter. (Not that his inquisitor needed bright lights and a rubber hose to make this governor talk.)When it comes to illegal drug use in America, precise numbers are always hard to come by. But it's no stretch to estimate that many tens of millions of adults — perhaps 100 million or more — have violated the nation's drug laws, and not just with weed.During the coke-happy 1980s, one government study said 30 million Americans had sniffed the white powder in a single heart-pounding year. "With numbers like these, the notion that someone has to lie is ludicrous at this point," said Ethan Nadelmann, who founded the Drug Policy Alliance and is one of drug-reform movement's chief strategists.The hope, Nadelmann said, is that Paterson's openness will encourage not just a string of fresh confessions, but "a more realistic" discussion of drug use in America and New York. "Look at the cohort of people age 30 to 60," he said. "A pretty substantial minority has done cocaine. Despite all the drug-war rhetoric, the vast majority of people who used cocaine did not go on to develop a coke habit or end up in terrible states. Some did. But the addiction rate was probably similar to that of alcohol."But even as the pols are now more open, many still won't draw broader lessons from their own experience. In this way, Paterson was a rare exception — and still is.His 2004 drug-reform plan in the state Senate still stands out as highly forward-looking. He's been a valiant fighter against the harsh Rockefeller drug laws. And unlike Eliot Spitzer, who prosecuted prostitutes while also allegedly patronizing them, no one is calling Paterson a hypocrite."His life and his politics have never been at odds," Nadelmann said.Complete Title: High-Level Politicians Admitting Past Drug Use Could Be a Spur To ReformHenican is a columnist for Newsday. Send e-mail to: henican newsday.comSource: Daily Press (Newport News,VA)Author: Ellis HenicanPublished: May 27, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Daily PressContact: letters dailypress.comWebsite: http://www.dailypress.comDrug Policy Alliance Justice Archives
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Comment #35 posted by afterburner on May 29, 2008 at 05:18:37 PT
"Not a thing!" "Neither do I." 
I asked Betsy, "Do you feel anything?" "Not a thing!" "Neither do I." ...Finally, on our third attempt, we were able to reach the promised high. Our awareness of having at last crossed the threshold arrived gradually. The first thing I noticed, within a few minutes of smoking, was the music; it was "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"... It was for me a rhythmic implosion, a fascinating new musical experience! It was the opening of new musical vistas, which I have, with the help of my sons, continued to explore to this very day.
} To Smoke or not to Smoke: A Cannabis Odyssey
By Lester Grinspoon, MD in the U.S. federal government would have us believe that a cannabis 'high' is some slobbering, staggering explosion of feeling, like being dead drunk. They do not understand the subtlety of the experience that they so fear because of "Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds."
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Comment #34 posted by Hope on May 28, 2008 at 16:15:45 PT
"Hard" drugs....
I don't know if anyone's noticed or not, but the complete prohibition and lack of regulation of those drugs has not worked and is not going to work and it has given birth to and increased a myriad of other problems... caused specifically by prohibition itself.There are many horror stories about many things... nearly everything. We all know that. Complete and draconianly punitive prohibition of any substance that a small but significant portion of the people wants to use isn't working, never works, and never will. The whole drug war is wrong and causing greater harm to more people than regulated control and legalization of those drugs would cause. People will kill themselves with them. They do now. They kill themselves with alcohol, food, and automobiles and electricity and gas. But if they were legal and regulated, "good guys" wouldn't be shooting any more Veronicas and Charities out of the sky to "stop" people who are smuggling the contraband... or not.If they were legal and regulated, the "good guys" wouldn't be shooting any more eleven year old boys as they lay on their bedroom floors, trembling from the horror of an early morning raid on their homes."Good guys"? "Good guys"? If they're "Good guys", then they have some wisdom. Some commonsense. Some understanding. Right?"Good guys", my ass!"Violent, stupid guys" would be more correct.They can say, "Good guys", all day long. It's still not true, and it will never be true, when you are talking about the things they do in the name of prohibition... the War on Drugs.
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on May 28, 2008 at 11:29:02 PT
Just a Comment
I have never believed that a person that gets caught using any illegal substance should be arrested.
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Comment #32 posted by dankhank on May 28, 2008 at 11:24:03 PT
me too ...
Hope, I agree with what you left unsaid ...always have ...any kind of drug war is wrong ...yes, there are problems with abuse of some drugs, but, a cage is not the solution.
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Comment #31 posted by FoM on May 28, 2008 at 11:12:13 PT
From The LA Times Blog
A Small, Polite, but Fervent Rally To Support Medical Marijuana May 28, 2008
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on May 28, 2008 at 09:46:55 PT
I meant people that I know in the sense that they are friends that I have seen personally. I do include you as my friend and I hope we will meet someday. I have horror stories about hard illegal drugs in my memory and so do others that I have known since the 70s. Cannabis is not an issue with them. 
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on May 28, 2008 at 09:35:56 PT
"I don't know anyone that believes anything but marijuana should be legal."Yes you do, FoM. Me. I just don't say much about it here. 
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Comment #28 posted by Hope on May 28, 2008 at 09:32:46 PT
Common sense says it's not working...
Yet there seems no answer but more slap downs and violence and horror. Just keeping it up... beating people into the ground... annihilating them. That seems the only answer in the high places of our world. They really want to get rid of people... kill them... wipe them out... lock them up and find profit for the wealthy doing it.I despise the "wisdom" of those who only want to destroy others.These "better than thou" people ALWAYS include cannabis in their hatred.
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on May 28, 2008 at 05:15:34 PT
I looked at the article and it reminds me of how we have change course during this administration and have attacked medical marijuana in California. I haven't read anything about the overall drug war in years. I don't know anyone that believes anything but marijuana should be legal. I'm talking about people who at some time in their life were involved with hard drugs in some capacity. 
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Comment #26 posted by Hope on May 27, 2008 at 21:34:44 PT
drug task forces
Were horrendous in Texas.
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 21:20:00 PT
I've watched many town hall meetings and when he answers a question about our drug problem he says we need more treatment not more incarceration. He knows that hard drugs are a dead end street. 
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 21:15:49 PT
It's late and I'm tired but is it about Colombia you don't like or Cuba? I will read it tomorrow in full. 
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on May 27, 2008 at 21:09:59 PT
I don't like the sound of this...
"And we’ll crack down on the demand for drugs in our own communities, and restore funding for drug task forces and the COPS program. We must win the fights on our own streets if we’re going to secure the region."
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on May 27, 2008 at 21:06:21 PT
"We have to do our part. And that is why a core part of this effort will be a northbound-southbound strategy. We need tougher border security, and a renewed focus on busting up gangs and traffickers crossing our border. But we must address the material heading south as well. As President, I’ll make it clear that we’re coming after the guns, we’re coming after the money laundering, and we’re coming after the vehicles that enable this crime. And we’ll crack down on the demand for drugs in our own communities, and restore funding for drug task forces and the COPS program. We must win the fights on our own streets if we’re going to secure the region."
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 21:05:33 PT
One More Video
I have always loved this video. It's John Sebastian.
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on May 27, 2008 at 21:03:49 PT
I don't like this speech by Obama.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 21:00:12 PT
I didn't know that about Willie Nelson. I think what makes Woodstock unique is the fact that about a half a million people lived together, fed each other and enjoyed each other for 3 days of Peace, Love and Understanding. It was like a city that worked. I think there was one death and one birth.Crosby Stills Nash - A Long Time Gone Woodstock 1969
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on May 27, 2008 at 20:51:02 PT
A bit like Woodstock...
only hotter and dryer!:0)
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on May 27, 2008 at 20:50:17 PT
Some of the early Willie Nelson Fourth of July
Picnics were a lot like some sort of smaller, Texas Woodstock type celebrations, as I understand.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 20:46:20 PT
John Tyler
I'm glad you liked it. Woodstock came together and worked and it has never been duplicated.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on May 27, 2008 at 20:36:20 PT
Chantix. Cannabis. THC. That sleep and drive pill.
Alcohol distributors.Do they arrest the pharmacist who fills and sells the prescriptions being taken by people involved in accidents? Do they arrest Mr. and Mrs. John McCain when someone has an accident under the influence of or after they use one of the products that Mr. and Mrs. McCain distribute?Of course they don't.The Prohibs just get lower when you think they can't go any lower.
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Comment #14 posted by John Tyler on May 27, 2008 at 20:28:26 PT
the museum
The museum is beautiful. Thanks for the link. I would love to go there to visit. It’s like the hipsters sanctified the place with their peace and love and made it some type of holy ground. How else would this, could this museum be built? That is so karmic. A museum dedicated to peace, love and understanding. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 19:30:18 PT
Seems Like Deja Vu All Over Again
Excerpt: The Sixties — The decade of the 1960s was one of optimism, idealism, cultural change, turmoil, and the coming of age of the Baby Boomers. The election of John F. Kennedy signaled the passing of the torch to a new generation, a generation that, in turn, created new styles, sounds, and attitudes, and challenged traditions.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 19:23:23 PT
Off Topic: The Museum At Bethel Woods
I just got this link in my e-mail. Thanks BGreen. I didn't know it was a Schedule III.
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Comment #11 posted by John Tyler on May 27, 2008 at 18:51:49 PT
Do the right thing
It seems to me that at college anybody who was into any social scene used cannabis and even some other stuff. The hippies of course, but also the regular straight kids, the frats, the sororities, the drama students, everybody, even the dorks and geeks... This was probably especially true at urban schools. Our politicians today were the outgoing, partying college kids of yester year. So guys, we know you were there. There are witnesses, and a lot of you have even "fessed up". You had a good time. You know this prohibitionist’s propaganda is bunch of lies.  You have the power now. Do the right thing and change the laws. We will support you and Karma will reward you.
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Comment #10 posted by BGreen on May 27, 2008 at 18:43:28 PT
Marinol is a schedule III drug
That means that it can be phoned in to a pharmacy with no written prescription needed. Marinol was moved from schedule II after it was shown to be of as little use to be abused as it is a replacement for herbal cannabis.A schedule II drug must have a written prescription, signed by the doctor and the doctor's DEA number must be written on the prescription (by the pharmacy if not by the doctor,) and must be filed separately from all other Rx hard copies.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 18:14:56 PT
I didn't check out the link. I am getting better from being really sick for a long time and I avoid anything that will get me really upset. Thanks for telling us. I think Marinol is a Schedule II drug.
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Comment #8 posted by ripit on May 27, 2008 at 17:57:18 PT:
#2 ot
 i went surfin the dea site after i read the link and i noticed on the schedule page dosen't list marinol (which is thc) yet it lists thc and cannabis in 1 but seperatly.i hate hypocrytes.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 17:00:28 PT
New York Times Editorial
Thirty-Five Years of Rockefeller ‘Justice’ 
Published: May 27, 2008Enacted in 1973, New York’s Rockefeller drug laws penalized some first-time drug offenders more severely than murderers. Named for Nelson Rockefeller, who was governor at the time, the laws tied the hands of judges and mandated lengthy sentences for young offenders who often deserved a second chance. The laws, which were supposed to ensnare “kingpins,” have filled the prisons with drug addicts who would have been better dealt with through treatment programs. They also undermined faith in the fairness of the justice system by singling out poor and minority offenders while exempting wealthy ones. New York has made incremental changes in laws in recent years but has failed to restore judicial discretion. A sentencing commission appointed by Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor, pretty much ducked the issue in an interim report issued last fall. But criminal justice advocates have higher hopes for Mr. Spitzer’s successor, David Paterson, who spoke out vigorously for Rockefeller reform as a state senator. He was arrested while demonstrating against the laws in 2002. If Governor Paterson is looking for motivation to take on this issue, he can find it in a recent report from The Correctional Association of New York, a nonprofit group that monitors prison conditions. According to the report, New York is currently paying $500 million a year to house its drug offenders. The costs are rising as more people go to prison for minor, nonviolent drug offenses. The law often metes out long prison terms to addicts, petty dealers or people only peripherally involved in the trade. Indeed, 4 in 10 drug offenders in the state’s prisons were locked up for possession as opposed to selling. These are hardly kingpins. In fact, nearly half the drug offenders in the state’s prisons were convicted of the lowest level crimes. Many of these people are clearly addicts who would benefit from treatment. But the mandatory sentencing guidelines limit the courts’ ability to choose the treatment option. It is long past time for New York to overturn these laws and to return judicial discretion. Governor Paterson, who can cite chapter and verse on this issue, should to take the lead in this important fight. Copyright: 2008 New York Times
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 14:50:12 PT
A Question
If a person of legal drinking age goes into a state store and buys some beer and takes it home and a day or two later gets drunk on the beer he bought a few days earlier can they go after the state store?
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on May 27, 2008 at 14:47:52 PT
let's put things in perspective
While life expectancy in the United States has continued to climb as additional treatments become available, prescription drugs also account for an increasing number of injuries or deaths. In one U.S. state, deaths related to prescription drug abuse has actually overtaken deaths due to car accidents. The U.S. Government’s Center for Disease Control has reported that drug use, including prescription drugs, may actually account for as many fatal auto accidents as drunk driving.'
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on May 27, 2008 at 14:45:10 PT
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday banned pilots and air traffic controllers from using a popular anti-smoking drug after a study found that it had apparently contributed to auto accidents and other problems that posed risks to both users and others.The drug, marketed as Chantix, has been hailed as an innovative treatment to help smokers quit. But a study by a medical safety group -- also issued Wednesday -- linked it to a variety of unusual and serious side effects, including seizures and loss of consciousness, and prompted the FAA to act, agency spokesman Les Dorr said.The aviation agency had approved the drug last summer, before federal safety regulators began investigating reports of serious psychiatric problems, including suicidal behavior, sharp shifts in mood and vivid nighttime episodes some patients call "Chantix dreams."A new warning came from a report by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, based on an analysis of "adverse events" reported to the Food and Drug Administration."We have immediate safety concerns about the use of [Chantix] among persons operating aircraft, trains, buses and other vehicles, or in other settings where a lapse in alertness or motor control could lead to massive, serious injury," the study said.The study identified 173 accidents involving Chantix that resulted in injuries. Falls accounted for the largest category, with a total of 77 cases. There were also 28 traffic accidents. The potential causes included loss of consciousness, dizziness, confusion and muscle spasms.
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on May 27, 2008 at 14:39:52 PT
auto accidents
I was looking for data on accidents in which prescription or over the counter medications were a contributing factor.I was noticing a TV ad for a prescription drug, started with a "Z..." I think...anyway, "do not drive, do not operate machinery until you know the effects blah, blah....Here is a link for the most common causes of accidents, lest people get the DEA message that marijuana is the worst worry facing drivers.-----"According to the NHSTA, auto accidents in general have declined over the last few years, but crash fatalities have hovered around 40,000. Vehicle safety has improved dramatically, but the number of vehicles on the road continually increases too, keeping the total number high.Some of the common causes of auto accidents are due to driver behavior, which is nearly impossible to change, despite efforts to improve safety awareness. The possibility of suffering personal injury or death is not always left up to you but is subject to the behavior of other drivers.Driver inattention - There are so many things that can distract you while you are driving today. Other cars, cell phones, food, navigation system, and even Internet access all vie for your attention, keeping you from doing your job; driving. According to the NHSTA:• 25 percent of accidents involved cell phone use• 49 percent involved eating or drinking• 66 percent were playing with the radio• 81 percent were distracted by other passengers in the carIn crashes involving teens, the fatality rate increased for each passenger in the vehicle.snipped.....
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 14:23:11 PT
Marijuana Dispensaries Linked to Fatal Car Crash
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 27, 2008 at 13:59:31 PT
Owner of L.A. Marijuana Dispensaries Arrested
By Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 27, 2008The owner of six Los Angeles-area medical marijuana dispensaries and his wife were arrested by federal agents early today following an investigation sparked by a traffic accident in which a man allegedly high on one of the dispensaries' products plowed into a parked car on the shoulder of the 101 Freeway, killing the driver of the vehicle and paralyzing a CHP officer.URL:,0,6101689.story
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